With Brady to Bucs, remembering NBA legends' late-career stops
Karl Malone - Los Angeles Lakers
Oldie but goodie. ‘The Mailman’ spent his age 40 season (the last of his career) chasing a title with the Los Angeles Lakers after coming up short repeatedly with the Jazz. That last gasp was, of course, to no avail.
Gary Payton, Antoine Walker, Jason Williams - Miami Heat
Gary Payton was on that ‘03-04 Lakers team, as well, before stops with the Celtics and Heat in the final three years of his illustrious career. He won his only 'ship in ‘05-06 with the Heat alongside Antoine Walker and… Jason Williams. What a squad. (Williams also made stops in Orlando and Memphis afterwards.)
Hakeem Olajuwon - Toronto Raptors
He owned the two years that divided the Bulls’ dynasty in the mid-90s with the Rockets, but Olajuwon closed his career with the Raptors.
Patrick Ewing - Seattle Supersonics/Orlando Magic
Like Malone, a famous Bulls foe. Ewing suited up for the Seattle Supersonics and Orlando Magic in each of the last two years of his career, before going on to assistant coach with the Magic a half decade later.
Dominique Wilkins - Everywhere
This one is still too weird to be true. Wilkins spent the 80’s and 90’s one of Michael Jordan’s fiercest competitors, before sputtering between the Clippers, Celtics, Spurs, Magic and various international leagues in Greece and Italy down the stretch of his career.
Allen Iverson - Memphis Grizzlies
Iverson bounced from Denver to Detroit to Memphis after being traded by the 76ers in December of 2006. He, at least, found his way back to Philly for the final season of his career.
Tracy McGrady - San Antonio Spurs
TMac came within seconds of a NBA title in 2013 after the Spurs signed him in the lead-up to the playoffs. But the Big Three-era Miami Heat (with a big assist from Ray Allen) sent him home packing. McGrady played 5.2 minutes per game across six playoff contests that year, and also had spells with the Pistons and Hawks late in his career.
Tony Parker - Charlotte Hornets
Stop. I hate it.
Vince Carter - Also everywhere
This one hits close to home. Carter’s career may have ended with the NBA suspending its play and he in his age 43 season with Atlanta. This decade, he spent time with the Mavericks, Grizzlies, Kings and, of course, Hawks.